India, UAE FTA will take trade to USD100 bn: PM at virtual summit

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday welcomed the inking of the India-UAE Free Trade Agreement, saying it will usher in a new era in their economic ties and see bilateral trade go up to US$100 billion in the next five years.

Addressing the virtual summit with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the PM also said that both India and the UAE share a positive attitude towards working with like-minded partners.

He voiced confidence that the new grouping between India, the UAE, Israel and the US would help take forward their common goals, especially in the fields of technology, innovation, and finance.

Expressing happiness at the inking of the CEPA, he said that the two sides were able to conclude negotiations in less than three months, when generally such negotiations drag on for years.

“The agreement highlights the deep friendship, shared vision and mutual trust between us. I am confident that with the signing of the CEPA, it will bring a new era in our economic relations, and take our trade from US$60 billion to US$100 billion in the next five years,” he said.

The PM said that trade, investment, energy and people to people ties have been the foundation of the bilateral relations, and added that both sides are poised to increase cooperation in many new areas as well.

He said a new MoU in the area of food corridors was a very good step, and welcomed UAE investment in the area of food processing and the logistics sector. He said with this, India will be a trusted partner for the UAE in the sector of food security. The PM also said that in the area of start-ups India has witnessed unprecedented progress, adding that last year saw 44 unicorns being set up.

He suggested that the two countries could encourage start-ups in their countries through join incubation and joint financing. He also proposed that the two sides can cooperate in setting up modern institutes of excellence for skill upgradation of their people.

He said that last month, the Jammu and Kashmir Lt Governor Manoj Sinha had visited the UAE, following which quite a few Emirate businesspersons have evinced interest in investing in J&K.

“We welcome investment in the fields of logistics, hospitality, healthcare, and other sectors in J&K, and will provide all assistance to UAE companies,” the PM said. He said that next year India will organize the G20 summit and UAE will hold the COP28.

“The issue of climate is becoming more and more relevant globally. Both sides can cooperate in shaping the agenda for this.” Earlier in his speech, he praised the Crown Prince for holding an excellent Expo 2020 despite the challenges of Covid.

“Sadly, I could not go to the UAE to attend the Expo, and our face-to-face meeting too has not taken place for some time. But today’s virtual summit shows that despite all the challenges our friendly relations are consistently climbing new heights,” he added.

He praised the significant role played by the Crown Prince in strengthening the bilateral ties and also thanked him for looking after the Indian diaspora during the Covid times.

“I will forever be grateful to you for the manner in which you took care of the Indian diaspora in the UAE in the midst of the Covid pandemic.”

The PM reiterated India’s strong condemnation of the January 17 Houthi terror attack in Abu Dhabi. “We strongly condemn the recent terror attacks in the UAE. India and the UAE will stand shoulder to shoulder in fighting terrorism.”

The PM said that the year is very significant for both countries, as the UAE is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its founding and the Crown Prince has also laid down the vision for his country for the next 50 years.

“We are celebrating the 75th anniversary of our independence and we have laid down an ambitious target for the next 25 years. There is a lot of similarity in the future vision of both countries,” the PM added. (UNI)

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